The Bad Habit Young Reporters Have That Separate Them from Better Pros

There's an on-camera difference between young and inexperienced news reporters versus their more seasoned peers. Everyone knows it.

"Oh, you can tell he's new," viewers will say to themselves.

Certainly, there are the obvious differences. Young reporters are more likely to stammer. Their writing isn't as concise as it could be. They still need to work on their timing.

But there's one that stands out more than the others for it's pure annoyance factor: the use of the words "I" and "me."

"That's right, Jim," they say, taking the hand-off from the lead anchor. "I spoke with (insert name here) just a few minutes ago, and he tells me...." 

With that, the story is now about them. If you listen closely enough, you can almost always hear the extra punch the reporter tries to give those words in hopes that you, the viewer, will realize that the young reporter is, in fact, important, and someone with whom prominent people wish to speak.

Not only do those words shift the focus of the story, they aren't really that accurate. As a reporter, an interview subject didn't just talk to you; they spoke to the entire station. Mr. or Ms. (prosecutor, police chief, community organizer) wasn't talking to John or Jane Doe, concerned citizen. They were speaking to John or Jane Doe from KXYZ-TV. There's a whole team involved.

Lack of timing, writing skills and good delivery are easily forgivable. They take time and practice to develop. The "I" and "me" focus less so. Use of those words isn't about practice, it's about intent; the intent being to make oneself a part of the story. 

If you're a young reporter, stop doing it. Give your team their due and make yourself sound a lot more professional. Use "we" and "us" instead. 

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